In Jewish tradition, we pause for a solemn moment before celebrating. We break a glass at a wedding, we remember being slaves in Egypt before entering Shabbat — and this week, we paused to remember the soldiers who have fallen on Yom HaZikaron as we prepared to joyfully celebrate Israel’s independence on Yom Ha’Atzmaut.
We observed both Israeli “Yamim” (days) this week with our students. We gathered our community around the Mirowitz flagpole for moments of silence on Yom Hazikaron. (Watch the beautiful ceremony here.)
We celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut here at Mirowitz with singing, dancing, games and (yes!) chocolate (view photos from the day here). And our 8th graders felt the joy authentically when they celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut in Tiberias! (Read their Israel blog and see photos here.)
Our students experienced one of the many gifts of a Jewish day school education: a connection with Israel.
At Mirowitz, this connection is an integral part of who we are. Our students learn Hebrew language daily with lessons rich in Israeli poetry, stories and songs. They dive into social studies lessons that help them understand the significance of the land and the country to our people.
They have Israeli friends, know the taste of hummus and shakshuka, and learn from our Shinshin, a young Israeli who teaches at Mirowitz as a gap year before national service to Israel.
As our students get older, we encourage them to grapple with current affairs and to understand Israel’s complexities. Our middle schoolers take three trimester-long courses in Israeli history and culture.
And by the time our students graduate, they know for certain that the story of Israel is our story as a Jewish people. It’s a part of their Jewish identities, right up there with saying, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”
Our hearts are filled with pride…for Israel AND for our students. Both give us hope for a bright future.